No-Bake Fruit Squares

With temperatures in Québec soaring past the point of comfortable, it isn’t time to fire up the stove and heat the house.  Luckily, raw foodists have provided the world with a wealth of culinary techniques and delicious recipes which require nothing but a food processor and a few well-chosen ingredients.  These squares are the no-bake version of the double-stuff fruit squares already featured on the blog and a great choice for entertaining, brunch or afternoon snack.  They’re also quite healthy, which makes them acceptable breakfast food for picky young people!

Should you be someone who makes their own almond milk, plan to make this recipe the same day as you prepare a batch of almond milk: that way you can use the mulch/nut pulp remaining from the milk-making as the almond flour for the recipe.  If not, no worries, the instructions take into account a no-milk scenario.

Yield: a 9”x13” pan

What you need for the filling:

  • 3 cups frozen blueberries (you really want the frozen here as they free up some juice which is necessary to rehydrate the dried fruit)
  • 1 cup chopped dried figs
  • 1 cup chopped Deglet Noor dates (sure, you could use Medjool, but they’re more expensive and the fruit juice will soften them – so safe a few bucks and spend them on the nuts for the crust and the vanilla extract instead)
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (or less if preferred)

What you need for the crust:

  • 1-1/2 cups almonds, raw or toasted (or the pressed dregs of making almond milk from 1 cup of soaked almonds)
  • 1-1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup walnuts, raw or toasted
  • 10 chopped Deglet Noor dates
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

What you do:

  1. In a large measuring cup, mix together the frozen blueberries, chopped dates and chopped figs.  Cover and let the berries thaw (overnight in the fridge works well).
  2. In a food processor with the blade attachment, pulse the almonds, walnuts, oats and chopped dates for the crust together until coarse crumbs form.  It will probably be necessary to stop regularly and scrape down the sides of the work bowl to avoid getting a mess in the bottom with big chunks on top.  Better a slower speed, more pulsing and perfect crumbs!
  3. Add the melted coconut oil and pulse a few more times.  The mixture should hold together (more or less) when pressed.  If not, add a teaspoon or two more oil and/or pulse the crumbs a bit more – but go easy on both.
  4. Set aside about a cup of the crumbs and press the rest into an even layer in the bottom of a 9”x13” glass or ceramic baking dish.
  5. Place the work bowl and blade of the food processor back on the base; no need to wipe or wash them out.  Transfer the fruit mixture from the measuring cup to the work bowl and add the chia seeds and vanilla extract.  Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  The mixture will be thick and may seem a little loose for a fruit square: but the chia seeds will continue to bloom (expand) absorbing the free water and thickening the mixture up.
  6. Pour the mixture over the crust and spread it out evenly.  Top with the remaining crumbs and lightly press them into the fruit filling.
  7. Refrigerate at least an hour before slicing and serving.  Leftovers can be kept in a sealed container in the fridge for up to four days or frozen for about a month.

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